1) Ancient China 2100 – 221 BC
Along with the Four Great Inventions of Ancient China – printing, paper-making, the compass and gunpowder – the Ancient Chinese have also been credited with inventions ranging from kites to toilet paper. The first recorded observations of solar eclipses and comets were also made in China.
The Chinese brought time-keeping into our lives through Shadow Clocks – forerunners of the sundial which first appeared in China around 2,500 years ago. The crossbow was also developed by the Qin Dynasty which later became the main weapon of European warfare.
2) Ancient Egypt 3150 – 31 BC
The Ancient Egyptians are renowned for being advanced in areas such as Math and Architecture, but did you know that they were forward-thinking in the field of medicine too? Parasitic diseases and malaria were prevalent with the harsh living and working conditions near to the River Nile, with the added danger of crocodiles and hippos.
There is evidence that the Ancient Egyptians had knowledge of anatomy, injuries and practical treatments – with wounds being treated by bandaging with raw meat, opium being used for pain relief and linen soaked in honey to stop infections. Ancient Egyptian surgeons were able to set broken bones and stitch wounds, and garlic and onions were used for good health – a tradition that has continued to this day.
Ancient Egypt was also ahead of their time with regards to gender equality – they viewed all men and women (apart from slaves) as equal before the law. Egyptian women had significantly more choices and opportunities than many of the more modern societies of the period, two prominent examples being the female pharaohs: Hatshepsut and Cleopatra.
3) Inca Civilization 1200 – 1542 AD (Modern day Peru)
From their capital of Cusco, Peru, the Incas conquered an Empire reaching from Southern Colombia to central Chile, and the roads they built created the most sophisticated and extensive transportation system in pre-Columbian South America. One part of this ancient road is the Inca Trail, leading to Machu Picchu. Whether reached by train (the easy way), or via the Inca Trail on a 2-4 day trek (the tiring way), seeing Machu Picchu up close is an essential experience for any modern-day South American adventure.